Wednesday, February 8, 2023

It is Time to Abandon the Candidate-Gene Approach to Depression

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The candidate-gene approach to depression goes unsupported and is likely based on bad science, new research finds.

Study Links Antidepressants and Decreased Coping Behaviors Across Generations

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Biologists found that exposure to antidepressants suppresses important survival behaviors in zebrafish, an effect that persisted across three generations and was found to be more severe for males.

Philosophers Challenge Psychiatry and its Search for Mechanisms of Disorder

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Attempting to locate the mechanisms of psychiatric disorder is a step in the wrong direction and fails to challenge potentially unjust social practices.

Large Rigorous Study Debunks Popular Gene-Environment Theory of Depression

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A large and rigorous meta-analysis fails to find support for the gene-environment interaction theory of depression.

Why Precision Psychiatry is Not a Paradigm Shift

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A letter just published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that “precision psychiatry” is not the paradigm shift it’s purported to be by the psychiatric establishment.

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing is Often Wrong

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Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has an “alarmingly high” 40% false-positive rate.

Large Study Finds Epigenetic Changes Associated with Trauma Explained by Smoking

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A new study suggests that epigenetic changes that have been associated with trauma may actually be due to environmental toxins.

Researchers Question Link Between Genetics and Depression

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A new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, found no link between genetics and the occurrence of depressive symptoms.

The Failed Quest for Biomarkers in Psychiatry

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A recent commentary by Ganesan Venkatasubramanian and Matcheri Keshavan notes that efforts to identify biomarkers in people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders have been overwhelmingly...

Researcher Urges Caution When Applying Genetics to Psychiatry

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In a review editorial for the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, neurobiology researcher Steven Dubovsky from the University at Buffalo argues against the adoption of...

“The Search for Schizophrenia Genes”

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MIA contributor Jonathan Leo, writing for Slate, weighs in on the research that claims to have discovered a genetic basis for schizophrenia. “We now...

Large German Anti-Stigma Campaign Shows Little Effect on Attitudes

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“Overall, this study showed that the information and awareness campaign had almost no significant effects on the general public's attitudes toward people affected by either schizophrenia or depression,” the researchers, led by German medical sociologist Anna Makowski, wrote. “One could assume that deeply rooted convictions cannot be modified by rather time-limited and general activities targeted at the public.”

The Genetics of Schizophrenia: A Left Brain Theory about a Right Brain Deficit in...

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In recent months, two teams of researchers in the UK and the US published complementary findings about the epigenetic origins of schizophrenia that have scientific communities who indulge in ‘genetic conspiracy theories’ abuzz. While these results are intriguing, and no doubt involve pathbreaking research methodologies, this line of thought represents a decontextualized understanding both of the symptoms that are typically associated with schizophrenia, and their causes.

Researchers Develop New Model for Understanding Depression

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Acknowledging that current depression treatments are failing many people, researchers from Michigan State and MIT have developed a new model for understanding how multiple psychological, biological, social and environmental factors contribute to depression.

“Nature and Nurture: Human Brains Evolved to be More Responsive to Environmental Influences”

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"We found that the anatomy of the chimpanzee brain is more strongly controlled by genes than that of human brains, suggesting that the human brain is extensively shaped by its environment no matter its genetics," said Aida Gómez-Robles, postdoctoral scientist at the GW Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology and lead author on the paper. "So while genetics determined human and chimpanzee brain size, it isn't as much of a factor for human cerebral organization as it is for chimpanzees."

“The Curious Case of the Antidepressant, Anti-Anxiety Backyard Garden”

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“My vegetable beds have even buoyed me through more acute stressors, such as my medical internship, my daughter’s departure for college, and a loved one’s cancer treatment,” writes Dr. Daphne Miller. Now neuroscientists are attempting to study the antidepressant effects of soil microbes in hopes of unlocking the secrets of a powerful mood enhancer.

Disease Theory of ‘Mental Illness’ Tied To Pessimism About Recovery

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Researchers recently completed a first of its kind, large-scale international survey of attitudes about mental health and they were surprised by the results. According to their analysis published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders, people in developed countries, like the United States, are more likely to assume that ‘mental illnesses’ are similar to physical illnesses and biological or genetic in origin, but they are also much less likely to think that individuals can overcome these challenges and recover

NIMH Funding Changes Threaten Psychotherapy Research

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The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is increasingly shifting its research emphasis toward attempting to uncover biomarkers for “mental diseases,” which may have dramatic consequences for research and training in clinical psychology. In an article to be published in next month’s Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Marvin Goldfried outlines how the shift in funding priorities for psychological research is tied to the needs of pharmaceutical companies and the biological model in psychiatry.

Mental Health Professionals Critique the Biomedical Model of Psychological Problems

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While a great deal of the excitement about advances in psychological treatments comes from the potential for research in neuroscience to unlock the secrets of the brain, many mental health experts would like to temper this enthusiasm. A special issue of the Behavior Therapist released this month calls into question the predominant conception of mental illnesses as brain disorders.

Search for Schizophrenia Gene Marches On

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In a study released June 6, 2012 through the online journal Behavioral and Brain Functions, researchers from Japan acknowledge that "the results of association...